When you have a vehicle that monitors the road more than 3,000 times per second in order to provide the smoothest ride possible and offers 4×4 driving, the only obvious thing to do with it is to take it where the peaks touch the clouds. And that’s just what we did with the 2016 GMC Sierra Denali 1500.

So, we packed into the $53,565* pickup truck ($60,765 as tested) and went to pick up some family. For this trip, the 2016 GMC Sierra Denali 1500 to capacity. Four adults and one really bored nephew fit comfortably in the Sierra and there was plenty of legroom all around.

2016 GMC Sierra Denali 1500_13Power retractable steps ($995, with articulating bed step) helped those of us with bad knees get into the GMC Denali, even though it wasn’t terribly tall these were a nice touch and allowed one to easily slide into the plush interior.

The seats were leather-appointed buck front seats with 60/40 split rear bench seats. Those in the back had access to plenty of power plugs while those in the front got power heated seats which were heaven in the snowy areas we traversed; they’re also ventilated, but we didn’t try that during the snowy escapade.

GMC has included 4G LTE WiFi capability, but I didn’t tell that to my nephew. Instead, he was forced to converse with adults (eeewww and, yes, I realize I’m cruel). The 2016 GMC Sierra Denali 1500 also came with wireless phone charging, power adjustable pedals and a tilt and telescopic steering column for the penultimate in pickup comfort.

2016 GMC Sierra Denali 1500_06Snow covered the path as I turned off Mountain Loop and onto the forest service roads, but that didn’t deter me as the 2016 GMC Sierra Denali 1500 had four-wheel drive (4WD) and the Magneride Ride Control system that, as previously mentioned, monitors our drive for optimum comfort.

The 6.2L V8 ECOTEC3 engine (a worthwhile $2,495 addition) puts out 420 horsepower and 460 lb.ft. of torque. Connected to a capable Hydra-Matic 8-speed transmission, the engine is a glorious monster. When I put my foot down, I’m pushed back into the plush seats and an audible roar comes from the hood, setting my face a-smiling.

While we were on snow-filled dirt roads, we didn’t need to engage the 4WD or the 2-Speed transfer case. The bottom of the GMC Sierra Denali 1500 was protected from the uneven surface and stray rocks by an underbody shield and the front fascia offered a commanding look while also giving protection, too.

Boardman Lake Road was nothing to the GMC and, soon, we were standing at the top of the mountain reveling in the snow, the sights, and the Sierra Denali 1500.

Our test vehicle was coated in Light Steel Gray Metallic paint that made it one of the most dynamic-looking pickups I’ve driven. The wide wheel arches were prominent, but not overdone. The 20-inch polished aluminum wheels glinted in the sun as bits of snow plopped to the ground.

(More below photograph.)

2016 GMC Sierra Denali 1500_12

The 2016 GMC Sierra Denali 1500 isn’t just a good-looking truck, it’s a work of sculpted art. A chrome shield-shaped grille is flanked by muscular headlights.

Yes, the 2016 GMC Sierra Denali 1500 ‘slices through the crowd’. I told my sister we couldn’t call it ‘pretty’, but it really was a tastefully crafted, good-looking pickup truck.

On the way down, the sincere dual-zone heaters warmed us all up. My passenger fiddled with the 8-inch touchscreen IntelliLink infotainment system. We were singing badly, but a Bose Audio system blared great tunes. It also had Apple’s CarPlay (but no one in my family owns Apple…), Sirius XM radio, AM and FM radio with high-definition capability, navigation, a CD player, USB and AUX inputs, and a Wireless Charging pad that we couldn’t utilize for lack of wirelessly chargeable devices.

After driving around a little more, we finally ventured back to civilization.

The 2016 GMC Sierra Denali 1500 offered the kind of pomp I’d want from a premium pickup truck and made me yearn for the kind of job where I’d need one. It is the perfect blend of rough capability, luxurious interior bits, technology, and great style.


*Price is Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) and does not reflect taxes, fees, and other additional costs. 

Deanna Isaacs the owner, editor-in-chief and lead journalist at The Auto Reporter. She graduated from the University of Washington's Communication department in 2014 with a BA in Journalism. She enjoys sports cars, working on her classic two-seaters and long drives where she can annoy the husband. You can reach Deanna Isaacs using the Contact Us form: https://www.theautoreporter.com/contact/.